PHILADELPHIA, PA--The man charged with fatally stabbing a University of Pennsylvania sophomore at least 20 times was described by a former teacher Tuesday as quiet, humorless, and outspoken in his political views.
“I can’t remember a single joke or a single light-hearted moment from him,” said Philip Schwadron, who taught acting to Samuel Lincoln Woodward in 10th grade in the fall of 2012 at the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, Calif.
Still, “I never thought I was looking into the 15-year-old eyes of a killer,” Schwadron said.Both Woodward, 20, and his alleged victim, Blaze Bernstein, 19, had attended the exclusive school. Schwadron, who didn’t teach Bernstein, described Woodward as “very quiet, very serious, very direct.”
Meanwhile, Jake Chustz, a former student who knew Woodward at the school, said in an interview Tuesday that Woodward “had a reputation for being very strange and for rubbing people the wrong way.”
Bernstein, a Penn psychology student visiting his Southern California hometown on winter break, disappeared Jan. 2 after driving to Borrego Park in Lake Forest with Woodward, the last person to see him alive, authorities said. After a weeklong search, Orange County investigators found his body in a shallow grave.
News of Bernstein’s slaying shocked a West Philadelphia campus already reeling from the death of William Steinberg, a freshman killed in a plane crash Dec. 31 in Costa Rica. Bernstein, who recently had been elected managing editor of the student-run food magazine Penn Appetit, is the ninth Penn student to die since January 2017.